The holidays are here! Although this year has been…something, we’ve made it to the end and now it’s time to relax, spend time with (socially distanced on the iPad) friends and family, and talk about how there’s never any snow anymore. Actually, that’s a lie. We just got snow.
What I like to do during the holidays is unleash the nostalgia. You know, look at photos, reminisce about old memories, finally try to beat Golbez in space in Final Fantasy IV (that’s not a spoiler you just need context). Playing games old and new, cozied up on the couch, is just my favourite way to be. So here’s some games that give me yuletide joy, or in this case, Big Holiday Energy:
The Ace Attorney Series
Honestly you could say that this article is just an excuse for me to talk about the Ace Attorney series. Every year, I like to sit down, relax, and defend my clients in court, and it almost always happens during the holidays. The Ace Attorney games are pretty famous; if you haven’t heard of them, I’d say there’s no better time to try them, since there’s rumours of a new game coming to Nintendo Switch. What makes it even more holiday-centric is the fact that the cases that happen during the winter in-game are almost always the most brutal, somber, and emotionally cold scenarios. Also, there’s snow!
Obviously you have to be a pretty big fan of text-heavy games to get into this series, but I think you’ll really enjoy them even if you want to just watch someone else play them, the characters are full of life (depending on how you meet them), and there’s all sorts of plot twists that keep you on your toes. It also helps that the original GBA/DS trilogy has been ported to practically every sort of gaming service, so pick your poison. Except the iOS version; for some reason, the mobile port of the trilogy uses low-quality sound effects, the frame rate is horrible, and it just pales in comparison to its original source material. Some people will say, “Oh, it’s the same experience.” NO IT’S NOT! I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL!
Anyway. give Ace Attorney a shot; it’s a really fun time. It’s a game that’s great to play when it’s almost Christmas…yeah, I’m not doing that joke.
As it goes in Bing Crosby’s “I Haven’t Time To Be A Millionaire”, I may not have time to make money hand over fist, but I do have time to play Mafia 2. Incidentally, this song is also one of the first songs you’ll hear in the game.
During my teenage years, Grand Theft Auto was banned from my house. Unless I could buy it myself, it wasn’t gonna be mine. So I had to get creative. I saw the 2010 E3 trailer for Mafia 2 and was hooked. So when my parents asked what I might like for Christmas, my answer, and my eventual present, was obvious.
Booting it up for the first time was awesome. I just remember being so mesmerized by the city of Empire Bay, and all it had to offer visually. Vito Scaletta returns home during the last winter of World War 2 and is reunited with his pal Joe Barbaro. Driving around in the snow and catching up with an old pal just felt fun. It’s a great way to start a game, and an even better way to start a holiday gaming marathon.
If you like story-driven games, you’ll want to get this one. It strikes a nice contrast to the ultra violent Grand Theft Auto. Best way to play it easily would be the complete editions on Xbox 360 and PS3. You could also opt for the Mafia Trilogy remaster, although your results may vary with consistent performance. Nevertheless, it’s fun as all hell.
RPG(s) of The Season: Final Fantasy VII Remake (& Dragon Quest IV)
Winter break is normally when I sit down and really get into some games with a lot of meat. Metaphorically, though; I cut out meat, I just eat fish now. While this diet change doesn’t make me want to go out and play Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, the holidays do make me want to jump into an RPG, and this year it’s Final Fantasy VII Remake that’s landed on my plate.
I wanted to get into it when it first released, but wasn’t too sure about it being split up into multiple games. Luckily, a friend of mine lent me their copy, and I can say that Remake Parts II & III are gonna be sought out. It re-tells the story of Cloud Strife, AVALANCHE, and Midgar so well; it’s almost like I’m playing the sequel movie, Advent Children! I will say that it can feel at times like Hallway Simulator 2020, although it may not be as afflicted as a previous Final Fantasy game…
Also, I don’t think there’s any snowy parts in the first disc of Final Fantasy VII, but I could be wrong; I’m only halfway through. I do recall seeing a screenshot from the original game with a snowy mountain. Maybe I’ll give it a try…
While I do enjoy Final Fantasy VII Remake, it can feel a bit drawn out at times, and sometimes I just want to relax, watch some TV, and mess around with simpler games. That’s where Dragon Quest IV comes in! Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen revolves around different adventurers pursuing their own goals, but eventually meeting up with the “Legendary Hero” to defeat the evil swordsman wreaking havoc on the world. I originally saw a tweet comparing FFVII’s Sephiroth to the villain in this game, so I had to give it a shot. It’s nothing too out there, and I enjoy it.
Now there’s a few different ways to play Dragon Quest IV, but I opted to go with the mobile port for a couple of reasons. It’s essentially an HD version of the DS remake with touch controls, and I really like the art style that Square Enix chose for the remake. The other reason is that I just wanted something simple I could play on the go while I drive to places and wait for family members to do quick errands. I’ve found that I’ve been playing it more and more at home, though. Having the characters live within their own small chapters, and then eventually all meeting up is a really cool design choice. I also like how goofy Dragon Quest can be, and the fourth game really delivers. It’s about $20, and you’ll get your money’s worth, especially since the DS version is pretty expensive…
Winter In-Game Events
Endless games are never usually my first choice to play, but I like to play them casually. That seems to be their intent; play a little bit here and there, put it down, come back later, and have more fun with new content. It seems like almost every casual game I play has some sort of winter update.
While I was reading Bleach, I wound up getting really into the mobile game, Bleach Brave Souls. It’s a 3D action free-to-play RPG, and although it can get quite money and time-hungry, it keeps the content coming. The newest update added the “Merry Christmas With The Girls” event, which is clearly a blatant way to incentivize players to buy Orbs to summon the characters you see in the banner above you. While I’m definitely not a pay-to-win player, I might consider saving up my Orbs for this one, and maybe relying on my plastic coloured Canadian money for some luck…
Past that, I still have to check up on other games that have seasonal updates. I’m pretty big into Overwatch, so I normally play the Winter Wonderland event. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has also had a winter update that I’ll check out. There’s lots to do and see this year! I am a little afraid of seeing all the weeds in my New Horizons town, though…
It’s Time To Go On A Winter (Ring Fit) Adventure!
The holiday season is normally a great time to spread cheer and spend time with loved ones. Obviously, this year has not been fun, with everyone having to spend a lot of time inside being sedentary. I can’t say that I haven’t stayed inside this year, and I feel a bit weaker. So I decided to buy Ring Fit Adventure.
From what I’ve seen and heard, it’s a motion-based RPG that puts both Joy-Cons into exercise peripherals; a circular Ring-Con, and a leg strap. It seems odd and clunky, but I’ve heard of people getting some really good results from the game, so I think it’ll help me stay fit for the new year. But right now, I’m gonna go take a nap…and then play some more video games!